Good to the last drop! I’m a self-confessed beauty product junkie, and I’ve gone through tons of face creams, eye shadows, mascaras, and every possible tonic you can imagine. I’ll try ANYTHING. But there are only a handful of items that make the cut as repeat purchases. These are the ones that I use down to the last possible squeeze of the tube or drop of the bottle – the ones worth having delivered on a regular basis or worth running out to Sephora to grab in a pinch.
But I’ll also chime in with some of the duds – because of course, there’s always those rave products that leave you scratching your head, wondering if there was something you missed. And sometimes? Those reviews are more helpful than anything, no?
Biossance is a relatively new-to-me brand that I heard about via a beauty blogger I follow. She raved about it, and I was hooked because you can order free sample sizes of their products for only $5 shipping, which feels like such a great way to test out a potentially expensive product without a huge financial commitment. Nor are you stuck with a whole bottle of something that doesn’t work for your skin type. So I got those samples in, fell immediately in love and placed an order for the full-size, which I’ve just about used every last drop of.
What worked: Squalane & Vitamin C Rose Oil is my personal favorite and I can see a markedly different glowyness (scientific term, obvs) to my skin. I tend to be red and dry, especially in the winter, and this has been a winner for me.
What didn’t work: I was underwhelmed with the Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer. Meh. Pass.
Glossier is another cult favorite, and I am right there singing its praises. The price point is excellent and the only gripe I have is that I can’t try it in person at somewhere like Sephora. I’m usually a little hesitant to pick a specific color based off a swatch on a photo, you know? But again, with such a great price point and so many helpful reviews, it’s kind of a win-win.
What worked (Pop some popcorn and pour you a drink – there’s a few):
Glossier Cloud Paint cheek tint: I started with the Cloud Paint in Beam and loved it so much I ordered two more. Now my favorite is Dusk – it’s perfect for just under the cheekbones and is slightly bronze-y. The only downside is that it’s suuuuper easy to squeeze out too much. A dab will do you — but I’m about to run out and I’ve already got a twitchy finger over the ‘buy’ button for another round.
Glossier Priming Moisturizer Rich: A longtime fan of Bobbi Brown’s Extra Repair Moisturizing Balm (KA-CHING), I read the reviews on Glossier’s more luxe moisturizing face cream and hit purchase. The price point is 1/3 of the Bobbi Brown(!) and I swear it’s just as good. I’ve gone through 3 of them.
Glossier Balm Dot Com: this was the Glossier gateway drug for me. I’m a lip balm junkie, and this one is hands-down the best I’ve found. It layers beautifully with lip pencils and other non-glossy lip tints, it tastes good (if you purchase the scented or flavored ones) and it can be used as a skin salve for cuticles, heels of feet, etc. My personal favorites are the plain and coconut. At $12, they’re inexpensive enough to snap up a few. I keep one in the car, on the bedside table, etc.
What didn’t work
Everybody RAVES about Boy Brow and frankly I didn’t think it was all that great. The clear did next to nothing for my barely-there brows (THANKS, blonde hair) and the tinted one felt way too heavy and clumpy. The mascara-type wand was also a little tricky for me to navigate. I’m sticking with a pencil, thx.
COLOR-TREATED HAIR PRODUCTS
With my color-treated blonde hair, I’ve learned through a lot of trial and error how to keep it happy and healthy. Its natural state is wavy, coarse and dry, which is only exacerbated by its every-8-weeks coloring. I wash it maybe 2x/week and take it easy on blow-drying. But when I do wash it, I’m pretty careful with what I put on it. My absolute must-have for blonde hair is this Schwarzkopf purple shampoo from Amazon that I use every other wash. It’s SERIOUS purple shampoo (and I’ve gone through a bunch). Absolutely do not leave this on for very long or it WILL turn your hair purple. But it’s excellent at getting out all those undesirable brassy tones. At $10 for a bottle, it lasts me a long time.
I follow up out of the shower with Moroccan Oil. It was hugely hyped a few years ago, but it’s one of the best products for my coarse/dry strands, ESPECIALLY if I’m blow-drying or using any kind of heat on my hair. I’ve gone through bottle after bottle, and it’s another one I replenish immediately.
What didn’t work: I REALLY wanted to love Kristen Ess’s line of hair products at Target. They smell AMAZING, have a fantastic price point, and Kristen is a hair guru, frankly. But the shampoo/conditioner left my hair feeling lifeless and greasy after a few weeks, which was disappointing.
What worked: I wrote a few weeks ago about my newfound love for Sunday Riley products as – ahem – a woman approaching a certain age when it comes to dealing with fine lines, dark spots and whatever else have you. And I’m here to tell you that they are worth every last penny. Start with the Power Couple kit as it has the two most popular products. Holy moses, they get the job done. My skin feels like a newborn’s when I wake up in the morning. The Luna Oil will last you forever, but the Good Genes is the $$$ one that you’ll have to replenish more often. I daresay it’s totally worth it.
What didn’t work: I also snapped up the $22 sample sizes of the CEO C+E antiOxidant Moisturizer as well as the Tidal Brightening Enzyme cream and I was completely underwhelmed. The CEO stuff felt like it wouldn’t ever absorb and was super heavy. The Tidal was fine. Underwhelming, and not worth the $$$ when you could get equally good moisturizers from, say, Glossier, for half the cost.
Bobbi Brown is nothing new, but she definitely nails it for so many things. I’m a huge fan when it comes to her cosmetics, as well as her skincare. But it’s the Longwear Cream Shadow Sticks that I reorder over and over and over again. I wear Nude Beach every single day and I like to layer it with Golden Pink for just a little shimmer. You don’t necessarily need brushes – just roll it on and use your fingers to blend. PERFECTION and it lasts all day.
Bobbi’s Luxe Lip Color has so much deep pigment and the texture is sublime. In the past I’ve struck out with some of her lipsticks; the colors have looked chalky and, frankly, a little old lady in the texture. I can’t quite explain it, but not good. But the Luxe line is velvety smooth and doesn’t feel drying at all.
Ok, that wraps it up. Those are all the absolute favorites and must-haves. Chime in on Instagram or comment below and tell me what you loved or hated!